Eagles 'D' stiffens at right time


Boulder City's 19-point lead had almost evaporated as the Eagles watched Virgin Valley bomb away on 3-pointers.

Finally, the Eagles could stand no more.

Boulder City played fabulous defense in the final minute to hang on for a 53-47 victory over the Bulldogs in the Class 3A boys Southern League final Saturday at Durango High.

Boulder City (19-9) will play in the state semifinals Friday in Reno.

"Our kids are resilient," Boulder City coach John Balistere said. "We thought we would be here, and we're proud to represent the South."

The Eagles' 37-18 third-quarter lead was cut to 46-45 after Virgin Valley's Nolan Tanner hit a 3-pointer with 2:41 left.

Kaleb Bailey's baseline drive gave Boulder City a 51-47 lead with 46 seconds left, and the Bulldogs burned their final timeout.

Virgin Valley (12-15) hit 5 of 10 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and desperately needed another, but the Eagles never let the Bulldogs take it. Virgin Valley finally settled for a 2-point attempt with 11 seconds to go. When the Eagles grabbed the rebound, it sealed Virgin Valley's fate.

"We're a defensive team," Balistere said. "We don't play a lot of zone, but we were in zone and we had to switch back to just playing straight up."

Bailey scored 15 points and Michael Walker 11 for Boulder City.

Tyson Teerlink led Virgin Valley with 15 points. Tanner had 14 and Dee Bowler 11 for the Bulldogs, who made 9 of 25 3-pointers.

GIRLS

Nikki Arquette had 10 points and five steals in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs rally for a 50-39 victory over Boulder City in the Class 3A Southern League title game at Durango.

The win gave Virgin Valley (16-9) a berth in the state tournament, which begins Friday in Reno.

"Nikki had a huge game," coach Chimane Creer said. "When she came down and hit those first few shots right at the beginning, I was like 'OK, if there's a game she needed to step up, this is the day,' and she stepped up."

Arquette finished with 18 points, four rebounds and seven steals, but her fourth-quarter performance was pivotal. She shot 4-for-5 from the floor during the quarter, and three of her baskets gave Virgin Valley the lead.

As good as Arquette was offensively, her defense was stellar, particularly her five steals in the fourth quarter. Boulder City turned the ball over 11 times in the quarter, and Virgin Valley converted those miscues for nine points.

"(Arquette) has kind of been the unsung hero, and doesn't get a lot of recognition," Creer said. "She doesn't score a lot of points, but she does a lot of other things for us."

Abbie Barnard added 13 points and eight rebounds for Virgin Valley.

Karlee Koopman led Boulder City with 13 points and seven rebounds. Mallory Bird added 10 points for the Eagles, who finished 22-6.

 

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